Gov’t Privatizes K Cham Rubber Plantations

The government has awarded 99-year leases for two Kompong Cham province rubber plantations as part of a plan to open state-own­ed agricultural assets to private in­vestors, according to officials.

The Council of Ministers an­­nounced in May that an open bidding process had begun for the province’s Chamkar Andoung, Boeng Ket and Memot rubber plantations.

Chan Tong Yves, Agriculture Ministry secretary of state and secretary-general of the Council of Minister’s National Divestment Committee, said last week that local companies TTY Corporation and Long Sreng International had been selected last month to operate the 9,000-hectare Memot plantation and the 8,000-hectare Boeng Ket plantation respectively.

Officials were still negotiating with the companies over rent, he said, adding that the government plans to compensate plantation workers who are not retained by the private operators.

Officials at the Boeng Ket plantation could not be reached, but Na Marady, formerly director-general at the Memot plantation said Mon­day that TTY Corporation, which is owned by his mother, Seng Touch, had agreed to pay $11.5 million for the lease and would start work in January.

Na Marady said he had no invol­vement in his mother’s firm’s bid for the lease. “It’s al­ready been a company of hers for a long time,” he added. “It was not created in order to participate in the bidding.”

SRP lawmaker Son Chhay said he intended to ask the Agriculture Ministry to explain the award of the lease as he had already received complaints from other would-be in­vestors. “There were irregularities,” he claimed.

(Additional reporting by Douglas Gillison)


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